Today’s decision by the German Government to finally grant an export credit guarantee for the Ilisu dam in southeast Turkey has met with substantial criticism from non-governmental organizations.
"The German Government sacrifices people, culture and the environment in order to enable companies to make profits", judges Heike Drillisch of the environmental and development organization WEED. "The pro-Ilisu decision is a shame and dishonour for Germany." Participation of the affected population and of the elected representatives of the surrounding municipalities was negligible. According to surveys approximately 80% of the population oppose the project. "With its decision, the Federal Government obviously has yielded pressures which the Turkish government exerted, instead of respecting international standards", says Drillisch.
"The approval of the export credit guarantee for the Ilisu dam is more than a disappointment for us, the affected people. By its double-tongued behaviour the German government loses all credibility", explains Ercan Ayboga, from the local Initiative to Keep Hasankeyf Alive. "The German Government is taking part in a great crime against the culture and the environment and is contributing to human rights violations against tens of thousands of people. The Ilisu dam is such a destructive project that it cannot be improved with any conditions. Therefore it must be stopped", said Ayboga.
Regine Richter of the environmental and human rights organisation urgewald comments: "With this decision the German Government knowingly accepts irreversible damage for the biodiversity and destruction of habitat of many birds. So far no complete environmental impact assessment for the project has been done. Such a procedure would be unconceivable with any European project."
The project may not even be compatible with Turkish laws, legal proceedings are still pending in Turkey. Thus the German Government is contradicting its own criteria for the assignment of export credit guarantees.
Only last Friday the Initiative to Keep Hasankeyf Alive opened a ‘park of hope and solidarity’ in the affected region with participation by international environmental and human rights activists, as well as European and German parliamentarians.
A recent message that the Turkish government plans to deploy 5.000 soldiers in the project area in order to ensure security highlights how disputed the project is in the region. "Our resistance will continue in any case. The German government will be confronted constantly with this irresponsible decision", the non governmental organizations declared. They are examining legal steps to be taken against this decision by the German Government.
Further information: Heike Drillisch (WEED), +49 177 - 345 26 11 Regine Richter (urgewald), +49 170 - 2930 725